Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

First steamboat reaches Houston

January 22nd, 1837

https://www.tshaonline.org/images/handbook/entries/Model of the steamboat Laura
Image taken at random from the related Handbook of Texas entry, Laura

On this day in 1837, the first steamboat to ascend Buffalo Bayou above Harrisburg brought Augustus C. and John K. Allen and a number of other prominent Texans to the new capital of Houston. The Laura was built in Louisville, Kentucky, for use on the Brazos by Thomas F. McKinney and Samuel M. Williams. After her arrival in Texas in June 1835 she had a notable career. In September 1835 the Laura towed the armed schooner San Felipe to engage and capture the Mexican cruiser Correo, which had been seizing United States vessels calling at Texas ports. In April 1836 the Laura took vice president Lorenzo de Zavala and secretary of the treasury Bailey Hardeman to the site of the battle of San Jacinto; they were the first officials to arrive there from Galveston Island. The vessel remained in government service through September 1836, when McKinney and Williams resumed using her to gather Brazos River cotton. In June 1840 she broke both shafts on a bar in the Brazos River and was towed into port. Her subsequent fate is unknown.

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